MANAMA, Oct 22 (Reuters) Two female American sailors were shot dead and a male sailor was critically wounded today at the US navy base in Bahrain in events the navy said were not linked to terrorism.
The shootings took place at about 0730 hrs IST, the navy said in a statement.
While the statement gave no details about the victims, a source at the base who declined to be identified said the two killed were women and the wounded sailor is a man.
Initial reports indicated the incident only involved US military personnel and that the heavily guarded base was not broken into.
''Two sailors were pronounced dead at the scene and the third was taken to local hospital for treatment. There are no indications of terrorism or a base intrusion,'' the navy said.
Bahrain's Interior Ministry said initial reports indicated the incident was a criminal matter.
The navy gave no explanation for the shootings, which took place in the base's barracks, and said the names of the sailors were being withheld.
Further details were not immediately available, and an investigation was being conducted into the incident.
Bahrain is a US ally and the home of the US navy's fifth fleet, which patrols Gulf waters, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.
About 3,000 US personnel, not including the crews of visiting ships, live and work on the base. Staff generally keep a low profile in the tiny Gulf Arab kingdom of about 750,000 people.
REUTERS SG BD1825